A boy preacher named Isaac goes to Gatlin, Nebraska and gets all the children to murder every adult in town. A young couple on a road trip stop in Gatlin to report a murder and seek help, but the town seems deserted. They are soon trapped in Gatlin with little chance of getting out alive.Written by
Although supposedly Isaac is a teenager, actor John Franklin was 24 years old at the point of the movie when he played Isaac. See more »
The electricity is off in Gatlin, but during the dusk chase scenes through the center of town, we can see the bank's ATM glowing reassuringly. See more »
Don't worry, Mister. You'll be safe here. Isaac and Malachi don't know about this place.
Enough! Who are Isaac and Malachi?
Isaac started the whole thing. He's a boy preacher who came to this town three years ago. At 9 years old back then, he had a charming way that appealed to all the kids and teens like us to follow him with his own teachings of the Bible and of the Old Testament. But me and Sarah thought he was just plain weird.
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The director's initial cut was much longer than the version that eventually made it to theaters and video. Among the missing footage:
A longer prologue where several other adults are killed on-camera, most noticeably a police deputy at the local police station whose throat is slashed and then stabbed in the chest, and a farmer who is hacked to death outside his barn by a group of pick-ax wielding teen kids.
A scene between Sarah and Job's parents before the slaughter. They talk over the breakfast table about Sarah's drawings of the upcoming massacre and how they think something awful is about to happen.
A scene where Isaac prays to He Who Walks Behind The Rows only to receive a horrific vision of his impending fate.
School is Out
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And a child shall lead them...
This is the tale of a young couple (Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton) stranded in the deserted little town of Gatlin, Nebraska and stalked by a pack of adult killing children worshipping a demon living in the surrounding cornfields.
This very atmospheric piece is a rather humble b-movie that boasts an unusual and interesting premise (thanks to a pretty good short story by Stephen King) and delivers some decent performances from its cast (which is rare with children in general).
Although soft in its depiction of violence, the movie offers some creepy moments (especially in the still effective opening sequence). John Franklin, excellent as the child-preacher Isaac, makes for one odd and creepy looking kid and Courtney Gains inhabits his psychopathic Malachai character with obvious delight.
The cornfields are beautifully shot and the overall is boosted by a pretty efficient score by Jonathan Ellias. And to top this all up, R.G. Armstrong makes here an appearance (albeit a too short one) as a recluse gas station owner.
Don't be fooled though. The movie is far to be a masterpiece. At leading endlessly its main characters around cornfields and then through the deserted town (direct effect of superficially expanding a short story to feature film length), the movie ends up suffering from its slow pace ("Things just aren't happening fast enough" even says Horton at some point) with the characters taking what seems like an improbable amount of time to realise what is afoot.
The danger of young and impressionable minds blindly following extremist religious leaders is certainly an interesting theme but is here barely tapped into.
Finally the climatic sequence, with the manifestation of the collieflower looking "He Who Walks Behind The Rows", is a bit of a let down to say the least.
Those (not so minor) details however are not enough to warrant the bad press the movie gathered upon release (and Stephen King's severe criticisms). "Children of the Corn" is a well performed little soft core horror b-movie that surprisingly enough spawned a franchise and still provides eerie ambiance and creepiness that even, at times, make the few cheap scares work.
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